|Fort Towson gets state grant for sewage system renovations|
|Friday, 16 December 2011 18:16|
OKLAHOMA CITY –– A state agency approved a grant Tuesday that will enable a Choctaw County community to upgrade its sanitary sewer system.
The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) awarded a $99,000 Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) grant to Fort Towson, announced J.D. Strong, executive director of the state agency.
The town has about 330 sewer customers whose service is provided two separate ways. According to consulting engineer Clay McAlpine, 148 customers are connected to a conventional gravity-flow sewage collection system. The other 182 customers have individual pump stations that send their wastewater to the sewage treatment lagoons via a series of small-diameter force mains.
The individual grinder pump stations were installed in 2000-2001, records show. “These pumps have been in service for approximately 10 years,” McAlpine noted. The average service life of such a pump is 10 to 15 years, depending upon its use, he informed the OWRB.
The town already has had to replace some of the pumps, and the need to replace others “will accelerate over the next few years,” McAlpine predicted. “It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of these pumps will need to be replaced within the next 12 to 18 months,” he advised the OWRB in a letter dated Aug. 5.
With the REAP grant the Fort Towson Public Works Authority can afford to buy 55 grinder pumps at a cost of $1,800 each, with city workers “providing the labor to remove and replace these pumps as they fail,” McAlpine wrote.
All of the town’s wastewater is pumped by three sewage lift stations to a total-retention lagoon system that consists of two primary cells and three secondary treatment cells, McAlpine related.
Joe Freeman, chief of the Water Board’s Financial Assistance Division, calculated that the REAP grant will save Fort Towson utility customers $178,000 in principal and interest payments by not having to borrow the money.
The Water Resources Board has awarded about $49.8 million in REAP grants over the past 14 years, Freeman said. “We are grateful to state Sen. Jerry Ellis and state Rep. R.C. Pruett for their support of this program,” Strong added.
The OWRB was created in 1957 to manage, protect and improve Oklahoma’s water resources and plan for the state’s long-range water needs in a responsive, innovative and professional manner. Since 1983, the agency has funded $2.6 billion in loans and grants designed to improve and enhance the water and wastewater infrastructure needs of communities across Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.owrb.ok.gov/.